The past is an indelible mark on how history has played out over the course of our country’s existence. To attempt to report only the good or glowing aspects of one’s past is deceitful and an impediment to productive solving of future events which may plague our society. Ben’s duplicitous behavior simply shows that there may be something unresolved about racism in his own life. Clearly, he played no role in his distant relatives choices, but to deny them seems irresponsible. This has little to do with the type of programming (investigative or entertainment), as one writer suggested, but more about one’s attempting to present an image to the public free of flaws.
The sentiment expressed by writer Dean Obeidallah is one that further draws attention to an attempt to quiet this significant revelation about one’s past. This is not something that Afflek should be given a free pass, simply because some writer suggests that this was a simple issue of right or wrong. It was much more than that. A person of Affleks’ stature should be able to own up to the truth without quavering. His knowledge should have been a testimony of how far we have come in this nation and how our relatives’ misguided lives no longer have precedence.
For me, his choice has cast a shadow on his integrity. It shows how problems like today’s modern –day scourge of homelessness will one day to some be considered a passing phase in history. Those who are now complicit will one day be revealed as tormenters with gross ignorance and disregard for other people’s suffering. Those in current day society who close their eyes to the modern -day atrocity of homelessness may have easily concurred with slavery in it’s day. No society sees their unjust behavior while it is occurring.
In today’s society the “N” word has been replaced with bum. The name calling of shiftless and lazy now applies to an entirely new group of individuals, but it is no less egregious when given to the homeless than when it applied to blacks. Yet we are so accepting of these names as it applies to the homeless, that no one even seems to be alarmed.
The longer we try to gloss over the past as Mr. Afflek attempted to do, the more likely we will repeat these atrocities in the future. One day Mr. Afflek’s offspring may be questioned on where their relative stood on the modern day cruelty and injustice of homelessness. If they pattern themselves after Ben, more than likely they will deny that he like many in his position did little to end this blight.